Telluride Arts: 2021 Small Grants For Artists Announced!

Telluride Arts: 2021 Small Grants For Artists Announced!

Telluride Arts recently announced the names of the recipients of the 2021 Small Grants for Artist. Details below.

The 2021 Telluride Arts grantees include 10 Telluride-based artists, whose artistic disciplines span music production, radio production, children’s literature, pottery, photography, acrobatics, mural art, and fine art installation. These artists represent a microcosm of the diversity of creative talent that thrives in the Telluride Arts District; the designated funds will support their professional development and various creative processes.

The Small Grants for Artists program is a long-standing collaboration between the Town of Telluride and Telluride Arts. Over the last 20 years, the annual program has served to sponsor and support local artists – investing in creative endeavors and advancing expertise.

Every year, a peer-selected panel of artists and arts professionals – from diverse disciplines and creative industries – gather to review and evaluate the proposals, and mindfully award the funds. Proposals are selected based on the outstanding quality and composition of the artists’ works, as well as their outlined contribution and enrichment for the greater Telluride community. Grant recipients share their work publicly through performances, exhibitions, workshops, and other displays.

The Small Grants selection process is increasingly competitive – this year’s applicant pool included over thirty local creatives. Each year the quantity and quality of proposals increases, which is a testament to the strong creativity that continues to thrive within the Telluride community. Since its inception in 1999, the program has proudly supported over 300 artists, and continues to grow!

2021 Small Grant Award Recipients

Alex Paul
Birds of Play 2nd and 3rd Studio Albums

Alex Paul is a founding member of Birds of Play, a musical collaboration born from a mutual love of desert canyons, raging rivers, rocky mountaintops, and juice picnics. These multi-instrumentalists and dearest of friends effortlessly weave together a unique tapestry of blues, blugrass, folk, and funk into a glorious blend of humor, honesty, and harmony. Alex’s grant will support the production of Birds of Play’s second and third studio albums. Alex says: “In order to reach a larger audience we need a dedicated strategy that involves releasing recorded music more consistently. To that end, this project is arguably the most important thing we can do right now to advance our work.” Look forward to an album release show at the Telluride Transfer Warehouse this summer!

Andrés Vargas Johnson
La Cocina de Telluride

Born in Santiago, Chile, Andrés Vargas Johnson is a photographic artist currently residing in Telluride. His work captures his passion for the outdoors, and he can often be found rock climbing, hiking, and traveling. Vargas Johnson will use these Small Grant funds to take a deeper dive into Telluride food industry. His project seeks to document and create portraits of the people who make the food in Telluride – those individuals who are the back of house stars helping this town operate. In a town where tourism dominates the economy, the people who form the backbone of the restaurant industry are often overlooked and underpaid, and this project intends to put faces to the names of those stars.

Brooke Einbender
Large-Scale Door Installation

Brooke Einbender, aka Mindbender Art, is a multidisciplinary artist specializing in painting and XR Art (Mixed Reality Art). Since the beginning of quarantine, Brooke has been collecting reclaimed doors to build an installation. In collaboration with CampV and WEarts, Einbender will have an artist residency at CampV in Naturita to create the immersive door installation. For Brooke, doors symbolize many concepts such as transitions, boundaries, endings, and new beginnings. Culturally and throughout time, the door seems to be steeped in sacred meaning. In the COVID era, what happens behind closed doors is only for us to know.

Emily Scott Robinson
Original Music for Telluride Theatre’s 2021 Shakespeare in the Park: MacBeth

North Carolina native Emily Scott Robinson has traveled a quarter million miles and counting, paying her dues along the dusty highway of America’s wild country. Along the way, she’s captured the stories of the people she met and expertly crafted them into the songs featured on her gorgeous debut studio release, “Traveling Mercies.” Robinson’s grant will support the composition of original music for Telluride Theatre’s 2021 production of Macbeth for Shakespeare in the Park. This is a new step for both Robinson and the Telluride Theatre, as it will be the first-time live music will be such an integral part of a Telluride Theatre Shakespeare production.

Erika Bush
Rockin’ My Blues

The musical trio of Erika Bush, Tim Johnson, and Bob Hemenger are pursuing a dream. This grant will help fund their first professionally produced blues album. While rough around the edges, Rockin’ My Blues is full of hearty vocals and groovy instrumentals. This project is ready to hit the stage!

Jacque Garcia
Double Trouble Acro

Jacque Garcia and Michelle Griffith are an acrobatic duo that performs with partner acrobatics, aerial hoops, aerial silks, slacklines, and more – both in Telluride and around the country. They have been involved in festivals such as Wanderlust, Sonic Bloom, and the Telluride Fire Festival, and have performed in several local shows including those of the Telluride Dance Collective. With their grant, Double Trouble Acro aims to purchase a portable aerial rig and expand their performance potential to all possible locations.

Jules Fallman
Wheel House Community Studio

Jules Fallman is the founder and director of Wheel House Community Studio, a 24/7 access, membership-based, ceramics studio for amateurs and pros alike. Fallman notes that “a big driving factor behind opening the studio was cultivating the community [she wants] to exist here.” As soon as it feels safe to do so, community workshops and classes will take place at the studio; and Fallman’s grant will help fund a new pottery wheel that will help make those goals a reality. Telluride Arts looks forward to hosting a pottery exhibition for Wheel House Community Studio members in 2021!

Kellyn Wilson
Dogs With Jobs

Kellyn Wilson is a 25-year-old writer, born and raised in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Her stories have been published in Ski, Skiing, and Powder magazines, but she has decided to channel her energy towards children’s books because they instill her with immense joy. This grant will help fund the illustration of and distribution for Wilson’s debut children’s book, Dogs With Jobs. Dogs with Jobs has a simple concept that delivers many more complex lessons through its lighthearted and relatable messaging. Wilson postulates that “kids are just learning to find their place in the world, and to be reminded that they are important no matter what their role may be, is a message that can’t be shared enough.”

Robin Kondracki
Boarding House Mural

Robin Kondracki is an amateur muralist with a keen eye and a skilled brush. Kondracki’s grant will fund her second large-scale mural, an inherently community-based project that will bring new energy to the Boarding House – Telluride’s town-owned, affordable housing space. In reference to her first mural project, Kondracki reflects: “it was incredibly rewarding to transform a crumbling concrete foundation into something special for the West End community, and [with my second mural] I would love to contribute to my own community that has given me so much in the same way.”

Soleil Gaylord
“Voices of the Valley Floor-a and Fauna” Radio Show

Soleil Gaylord is the producer and host of “Voices of the Valley Floor-a and Fauna” on KOTO radio. This environmental radio show has continuously aired on KOTO since Gaylord’s freshman year of high-school in 2014; her show is a nature almanac exploring the natural history intrigues of Telluride’s local flora and fauna. Most importantly, the project is meant to keep residents “tuned in” to the Valley Floor. As Gaylord says: “[she] always liked the saying that you can’t protect a place unless you understand the place; you can’t love it until you know it.” This grant will help Gaylord take “Voices of the Valley Floor-a and Fauna” to the next level by providing the start-up money needed for archiving her radio show – for repeat listeners and future generations of listeners alike.

Telluride Arts, more:

Telluride Arts is celebrating 50 years as the local arts council! Telluride Arts promotes a culture of the arts within the Telluride Arts District, which contains a remarkable concentration of arts and cultural activity that engages artists from around the region and across the globe. For more information find the nonprofit online at, or on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @TellurideArts. | 970.728.3930

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